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Holes yield fast-charging nanobattery

14 Nov 2014

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University of Maryland researchers have come up with a battery concept that is touted as the ultimate miniaturisation of energy storage. The battery uses nanopore structures that hold electrolyte to carry the electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end.


A billion nanopores could fit on a postage stamp.

Chanyuan Liu, a PhD student in materials science and engineering, says that it can be fully charged in 12 minutes, and it can be recharged thousands of times.

Millions of these nanopores can be crammed into one larger battery the size of a postage stamp. Each nanopore is shaped just like the others, which allows them to pack the tiny thin batteries together efficiently. The space inside the holes is so small that the space they take up, all added together, would be no more than a grain of sand.

Aside from demonstrating the concept and making the battery work, the scientists have also identified improvements that could make the next version 10 times more powerful. Strategies for manufacturing the battery in large batches have also been conceived.

 Nanopores in closeup

Each end of the tiny pore is treated to add nanotubes that collect the electrical charge conducted by the liquid electrolyte filling the pore.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and has been published in the Nature Nanotechnology journal.

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